Taking it to the limit

There are some very interesting questions brought up by David Levy’s book, Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships (see also Programmed for love). Suppose robots get so human like they are practically indistinguishable from humans in their interactions? What if they are anatomically correct enough to have sex with without you being able to easily detect they are not human?

That’s thought provoking enough but the really interesting questions are what this means to the concept of marriage fidelity as the technology is taken to the limit:

  • If you have sex with such a robot is it “cheating”?
  • Does it depend on whether you knew it was a robot or not?
  • If it is considered cheating whether you knew it was a robot or not, then is it “cheating” when a person has sex with an “adult toy” of today?
  • If it is considered cheating to have sex with the human like robot, but it’s not considered cheating to have sex with an adult toy of today’s technology then at what point in the sophistication of the technology does it become cheating?
  • If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot then what is the basis for making that distinction? Is it just because one comes with a warranty and has parts that are dishwasher safe?
  • What if certain parts of the robot are actually from human donors? How many parts need to be human before it’s not considered a robot? Or how many artificial replacement parts must a human have before they are considered a robot?
  • If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot, you think it is a robot at the time, what happens if you find out later it was not a robot?
  • If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot, you think it is a human at the time, what happens if you find out later it was a robot?

Of course all these questions will have to be answered on a case by case basis by the humans and robots involved but my interest is in the basis of how people will make these decisions. I find it all wonderfully entertaining.

7 thoughts on “Taking it to the limit

  1. Well, I think the intent is what is important. If you intended to have sex with another person, then it’s cheating, regardless of the mechanical makeup of the device.

    And I’m not so sure this is a plausible future. Why would you build something so technologically advanced only to cripple it by making it human?

    And by the time we can engineer something that accurate, I would assume we’d be able to tie right into our pleasure centers of our brain and give ourselves experiences that make sex ho-hum.

  2. I’m pretty sure the direct connection to the brain has already been done with animals. I would expect there is going to be more Resistance to putting electrodes in your brain compared to playing with a sophisticated mechanical toy so the robot will have a market even with the competitive pressures of the direct connect.

    The reasons for making it human like will be because the market demands it (or not). Think of the people that are unable to find a mate for whatever reason (personality defects, physical deformities, etc.). Will they want it lifelike or not? What about those that might normally visit a prostitute? What features will they want in their rental?

  3. If you have sex with such a robot is it “cheating”?

    Depends – If it is as replacement for your spouse or significant other, then yes, it is cheating, robot or otherwise. Part of the commitment of marriage. That said, all marriages are different. Swingers might have a different take on it – one is wise to know one’s spouse, here.

    Does it depend on whether you knew it was a robot or not?

    See above. The problem is the seeking of sex outside of the marriage, not the partner.

    If it is considered cheating whether you knew it was a robot or not, then is it “cheating” when a person has sex with an “adult toy” of today?

    I think the above answers it.

    If it is considered cheating to have sex with the human like robot, but it’s not considered cheating to have sex with an adult toy of today’s technology then at what point in the sophistication of the technology does it become cheating?

    N/A

    If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot then what is the basis for making that distinction? Is it just because one comes with a warranty and has parts that are dishwasher safe?

    N/A

    What if certain parts of the robot are actually from human donors? How many parts need to be human before it’s not considered a robot? Or how many artificial replacement parts must a human have before they are considered a robot?

    The brain is the essential part. Without it: a flesh robot (or “moist robot” as Scott Adams likes to call it). With it: human.

    If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot, you think it is a robot at the time, what happens if you find out later it was not a robot?

    N/A

    If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot, you think it is a human at the time, what happens if you find out later it was a robot?

    N/A

  4. Joe, there was a short story on EscapePod.org where a man turned in his sex-bot because it was perfectly realistic. It had stomach gurgles, it breathed, sweat, etc. The man said that if he wanted something realistic, he’d have gotten a hooker.

  5. I think it depends on whether or not the machines are sentient. I think that is the main distinction. If we didn’t make those sorts of distinctions, all sex would be considered bestiality (since people are, after all, animals.)

  6. Joe, if there was ever any doubt that yer an Aspie/Autie, this post has removed and destroyed said doubt. And I honor you for it.

    Snork!

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